Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Heart of Christ heals the contrite of heart

"Consider the perfection of the contrition found in the Heart of Christ. He could not be touched with sin, but 'He was reputed with sinners, and upon Him was laid the iniquity of us all.' And for all of us He made reparation and He sorrowed, including in His sorrow every quality found in our far weaker contrition.

Contrition should be interior, in the heart. 'Rend your hearts, not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God.' The rending of the Heart of Christ is witnessed to by a thousand messengers who have hurried out by every way they could to tell us in a language that cannot lie - the language of blood - that the sorrow of sin is crushing His Heart. The rending of His Heart is eloquent in the words in which He voices His contrition: 'Not my will, but Thine be done.' From the will - that is, from the heart - came that act of contrition.

Contrition must be supernatural. God must enter into the sorrow for sin. The Heart of Christ expressly excluded all thought of self, all motives that led away from God. Even the passing of the chalice that God's justice held to His lips was not to be effected by His will. God's will might remove it; Christ's will would not. So then, the draining of the chalice must be accomplished with the purest unselfishness: 'Not my will, but Thine be done.'

Contrition should be sovereign. Never did a heart have to make more fearful reckoning between the worth of God and the price of sin than the Heart of Christ made, and never was the infinite value of God's law asserted more emphatically. On one hand was the whole Passion to come, with all its tortures of body and soul; on the other hand was God's justice. Christ accepted the sorrow, the suffering, the disgrace and death. He laid His Heart upon the altar of God's justice and was Himself the priest who completed the sovereign holocaust: 'Not my will, but Thine be done.'

Contrition must be universal. Was there a single sin exempted from God's will? Was there a single wish of God's will that was not embraced by the Heart of Christ? Was there a single pang of pain, a single twinge of sorrow, a single drop of His blood excluded from the generous offer of Christ? There can be only one answer to these questions. The 'my' of Christ included all that the 'Thy' of the will He addressed included: 'Not my will, but Thine be done.'

It is, then, that great act of contrition which sweetens the chalices of our penitence; it is the signature of Christ's blood which gives value to what would be worthless paper in our soul's sorrow; it is the Heart of Christ which heals the contrite of heart."

-- How to love as Jesus loves: unlocking the treasures of Christ's Sacred Heart by Francis P Donnelly, SJ


aspiring... said...

Warm greetings to you ocd sister,

The passage says, "From the will - that is, from the heart - ..."

I don't easily connect things of the will with things of the heart. Will, to me, speaks of intention. Heart, to me, speaks of affectation. Can you elaborate on the writer's perspective?

God bless you now and always, I do pray...

ocd sister said...

Hi, aspiring! I shall try to answer your question.

Unless a person is under great duress or does not have full use of their reason (i.e., some one who's had massive strokes and now is doing things that before were unthinkable), the things that we do are usually a reflection of our beliefs (convictions), our habits... We say we carry our feelings in our heart. So if I have the love of God in me and I accept it and cherish it, my will will reflect that in my actions (and thoughts). If, on the other hand, I have selfishness in my heart, I will do things to protect and foster my own interests, even at the expense of others, through the exercise of my free will. Our holy father John of the Cross speaks of the three spiritual potencies (faculties): the will, understanding, and memory. In his book Ascent of Mount Carmel (A III, 16, ii) he wrote: "The strength of the soul comprises the faculties, passions, and appetites. All this strength is ruled by the will. When the will directs these faculties, passions, and appetites toward God, turning away from all that is not God, the soul preserves its strength for God, and comes to love him with all its might." So going back to Fr Donnelly, Christ rendered His Most Sacred Heart completely when He said: "Not my will, but Thine be done." Those words came from His surrendered Heart through an act of the will.

Hope this helps. Please pray for me.